LONDON/HONG KONG — Staff at Goldman Sachs are bracing for news on whether they will keep their jobs on Wednesday, as the U.S. investment bank begins a sweeping cost-cutting drive that could see its 49,000-strong global workforce shrink by thousands.
The long-anticipated jobs cull at the Wall Street titan, expected to represent the biggest contraction in headcount since the financial crisis, is likely to affect most of the bank’s major divisions, with its under-fire investment banking arm facing the deepest cuts, a source told Reuters this month.
Just over 3,000 employees will be let go, the source, who could not be named, said on Jan. 9.
The cuts began in Asia on Wednesday, where Goldman completed cutting back its private wealth management unit and let go 16 private bank staff across its Hong Kong, Singapore and China offices, a source with knowledge of the matter said. About 8 staff were also laid off in Goldman’s research department in Hong Kong, the source added, with layoffs ongoing in the investment bank and other divisions.
There was little sign yet of the imminent upheaval around the bank’s major office hubs in New York or London.
Goldman’s redundancy plans will be followed by a broader spending review taking in corporate travel and expenses, the Financial Times reported on Wednesday, as it counts the costs of a massive slowdown in corporate dealmaking and a slump in capital markets activity since the war in Ukraine.
Goldman Sachs declined to comment.
Goldman had 49,100 employees at the end of the third quarter, after adding significant numbers of staff during the coronavirus pandemic.
The lender is also slashing its annual bonus payments this year to reflect the depressed market conditions, with payouts expected to fall about 40%.
Global investment banking fees nearly halved in 2022, with $77 billion earned by the banks, down from $132.3 billion one year earlier, Dealogic data showed.
Banks struck $517 billion worth of equity capital markets (ECM) transactions by late December 2022, the lowest level since the early 2000s and a 66% drop from 2021’s bonanza, according to Dealogic. (Reporting By Sinead Cruise and Iain Withers in London, Selena Li in Hong Kong, Scott Murdoch in Sydney and Saeed Azhar in New York; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)